You win some, you lose some

29 Sep

I have spent most of the day trying to get some work done and for the most part it’s been fairly successful. I restarted a book on Social Constructionism which for the third year running is on my reading list. I seem to always get halfway through and abandon it but this time I am determined the finish the entire thing! I also started reading through my notes and trying to have some decent thoughts in regard to my dissertation. I feel mostly daunted by the whole process and what the year will bring but I don’t think I’m alone in that. Most third years are going to feel the pressure at some point and the fact that I have stupid high expectations just adds a touch more to it. I don’t want to just pass, I’m aiming for a 1st because that has been all that I have gotten (except for one paper) in everything that I have written in since I started studying. It would hurt to get anything less than that. This afternoon I had a workshop to go to about the dissertation and I suppose this is where my win of the day comes in. I actually talked to people. I interacted like a normal human being which shouldn’t be hard but at the moment it is. It was made easier because they mostly talked about their summers and what they have coming up. I nodded and smiled in all the right places. I’m not going to lie, it was knackering but it made me step out of this bubble that I’ve put myself in, even if just for a while. Logically I know that that is a good thing even if it doesn’t feel like it.

The lose though was of course about food. The fear is mounting and so today I thought I should challenge something. It is something that I used to consider safe, that I ate everyday and nutritionally is pretty nonthreatening. I planned to do it at lunchtime, I was ready and I was feeling capable. Lunchtime came and so I prepped what I was having, putting the challenge food on a separate plate and sat down to eat. I got through the meal that I made relatively in one piece and then came the challenge…and I just couldn’t. It sat and stared at me and I stared back, feeling myself crumbling into pieces as more time passed. I had so many thoughts crashing through my mind from “I don’t know what that will do to my body” to “something bad will happen if I eat that” needless to say I lost the most important thought amongst all that, which was the thought that I could do it. After 20 minutes, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I threw it out, too scared to even touch it with my hands and then did the dishes. It was so pathetic. I have to decide whether to try again tomorrow and I honestly don’t know if I can. I was alone today and so I used that as an excuse, that if something bad did happen then no one would be around to help. Yet I know that if I was to be with other people who don’t know about these fears then I would feel like an idiot and wouldn’t want to do it in front of them because then I’d have to pretend that I was fine and not about to have a panic attack. I wouldn’t want them to see me unravelling or that food still has this much power over me. The final option would be to do it with people who get this but there are so few and possibly only a couple who know the true extent. Of course I  then go back to thinking what’s the point? Why am I even trying? I don’t need variety. I think the truth is as more things leave my diet, I’m a little concerned that eventually I will be down to very few items that I can tolerate. I know that that is not a sustainable way to live and as powerful as this disorder is right now, as shit as  I feel all the time, I still need to live and be able to.

Mixed day but it’s fine because there was some productivity in there.

I hope your day has been good to you.

Classes have resumed

28 Sep

I keep expecting to wake up and find that my world has righted itself in the night. I expect for things to go back to how they were when although they may not have been brilliant, they were fine. Instead I wake up each morning and it feels worse than the day before. Another dip in my mood, another thing to be anxious about, another food that has been dropped from the allowable list. If I didn’t know better than I would think that there can’t be much further to fall, but I do know better and I know that pit that I’m sliding down into is actually endless.

Yesterday was my first real day back at Uni. I have been looking forward to it, getting back to some sort of normality and structure for me but goodness it was hard. By the end of the day all I could wonder was how the hell am I going to get through this year. It looked something like this:

  • Wake up after barely sleeping throughout the night
  • Force myself to get ready and to have breakfast
  • Walk to campus and into class
  • Avoid conversation, eye contact and sit at the back discreetly
  • Go to the library then struggle through a lunch that made me feel like I was choking
  • Back to another class, avoid conversation, eye contact and feel exhausted from saying one sentence out loud
  • Go home, cry, fall into some sort of nap that I kept waking up from every 5 minutes
  • Pick my brother up from the other side of the city to take him to his class, wait, take him home, come home myself

I was so tired by the end of it, near broken and it was just one day! I felt uncomfortable the entire time as I tried to manoeuvre my way around all the freshers and society stalls. Too much which translated into me being too much.

Today wasn’t much better. The only thing I had to do was go to a meeting with my personal tutor to discuss my plans for my dissertation. My subject that I decided pre-summer and I guess pre-relapse is centred around Eating Disorders and Recovery. Despite all that’s going on, I still want to do it because I think it could turn out to be a really good piece of work, even if it does shatter me in the process. My tutor told me that I had to be aware of some things, one of them being how I emotionally handle the process. I was honest against my better judgement and said that this project may be a little harder than I thought it was going to be now. He’s aware of my history and everything, so I said very clumsily that things are not great yet I’m fine but some professional help is being put in to place in regards to my mood but I declined the Eating Disorder service help. It felt very awkward and I am largely inarticulate lately. As soon as I said anything I regretted it…not because of his reaction as he’s lovely but I felt too exposed. The thing is I felt I had to be truthful because I am aware he has a responsibility within this and I am not prepared to lie to him and put him in a difficult position. I don’t want to talk to him about it or me or any emotional stuff though, he just needs to be kept in the loop as to how things are. He did for a moment look unsure and slightly panicked but I told him not to be because ultimately working on this project is my choice. We then got kicked out of the room we were in by the next class so left it quite awkwardly and as soon as I walked away, I felt like shit and wanted to take it back. He wants to meet next week and I can’t avoid him because he is my tutor and also my dissertation supervisor. It’s going to be a challenging year I think and all I want is to get through it, get my work done, get my degree and do it all as invisibly as possible. I don’t want people to see me like this.

I do realise that lately I have been using this space to essentially moan about everything and I want to apologise for that. I keep thinking I should write something that has some meaning to it, something I can get behind and believe in again in regards to recovery but I’m just not there. That inspiration in myself is lacking and so is the energy to fake it for you guys. So I am sorry, unfortunately I guess this is an unwanted but a realistic part of recovery, the bit where it all gets blown up and you have to figure out if you can survive it, if you know enough and have learnt enough to be not give in entirely. At this point, I don’t know.

I hope your day has been kind to you.

Failure

25 Sep

The days feel heavy and shapeless. I am lost and I don’t know how to find my back. I have barely left the house in three days because I couldn’t figure out how to function alongside the rest of the world. This isn’t me anymore and I’m not sure when it so spectacularly changed. Today I had hours to kill and so I ended up reading through some of my old blog posts. Can you believe this has been up for around three years? I didn’t actually go that far back but did go back far enough to a time when I wanted recovery more than I’d wanted anything else in my life. When it was this thing that I thought I was strong enough to achieve. There were so many reasons why I wanted it, what it would mean, how much it would mean. I really thought I would do it. Now all I have is this sense of being defeated and I wonder where that strength went? Something has gone from me, extinguished and who knows how you get that back. I’m so done with trying to keep on going because that’s what is expected of me. I can’t keep doing it. I flip between being heartbroken and not giving a damn at all, wanting to sleep till its over. I guess I’m just not the person that I thought I was, that everyone else thought I was. I’m simply a failure.

18 Years

23 Sep

There are moments throughout the day where I think to myself that maybe I need to try again. Give this recovery thing another go and see if I have the strength to take some steps forward. Those moments however are brief and then a wave hits me, the despair and the futility of this continuous effort of attempting to not let this disorder destroy me sets in. I curl up, quite literally and realise that I do not have anything left. There is no more raging anger towards it, there is no belief that I do not deserve this, there is no hope for something more. I feel resigned that this is my life but equally I do not want it to end it. I don’t know what to do with those two opposing bits of information. If I continue to leave it, although it’s not that bad at the moment, my body will become weaker until eventually it has no other option but to fail. I’m under no illusion that what I am doing isn’t dangerous. Every day of restriction puts the body under a tremendous amount of stress. The way the body has to adapt to that in order to survive puts it under further stress. There is nothing quiet or easy or safe about starvation. Yet do I have the energy to really care about the impact it has on my day to day life? Do I care about the fact that I don’t want to socialise anymore or that I have absolutely no energy? Does it hurt that I am missing out, that I can’t meet friends for lunch or that I am barely functioning? No…not really. I’m aware that it should but it really doesn’t.

It’s coming up to 18 years of this. 18 years of striving and fighting and sinking and hoping and failing…and what do I have at the end of it? The fact that I cannot stop destroying myself, even when I thought there was nothing left to destroy, even though I don’t have the heart for it or the desire. It’s like it’s something I am simply programmed to do because fundamentally I think I’m worth less than shit.

I hope your day has been kind to you.

I Can’t

21 Sep

It’s not been a good day. In fact no day has been good for a while. I’m not quite sure what is happening to me anymore, the only thing I am aware of is the sinking sensation that doesn’t seem to want to disappear. Every day when something is asked of me, when I have to leave me I house and function like a normal person, I want to lay down from the tiredness and effort and simply say that “I can’t.” Those two little words seem to be taking up too much of my vocabulary lately. I can’t move. I can’t breathe. I can’t eat. I can’t stop weighing myself. I can’t stop feeling like I’m too much. I can’t think. I’m so tired of this defeatist attitude that has taken up residence in my brain but again, I can’t shake it.

I saw my GP a couple of nights ago. It didn’t go very well. He is just as lovely as he’s always been but now he is worried. He said it so many times that in the end he made a joke about it. I tried to smile. He wants to refer me back to the Eating Disorder Unit. I tried to explain that I am not there yet, that it was unnecessary, that things were not that bad. I said this and he looked at me with that sad face that people pull when you are burning yourself to the ground and they don’t know what to do. He eventually countered that if he didn’t think it was needed then there was no way he would suggest it. In the end we compromised with me saying I’d think about it. We talked, well he asked questions and I answered. He took my pulse and said he didn’t even want to think about what my BP would come up with so wasn’t going to do it. I don’t blame him, my guess is that it was down the toilet at that point. I told him that I was failing and he went on to give an explanation how I wasn’t failing, that you don’t fail when it comes to being unwell. You just are. I bit my tongue so I didn’t scream that I wasn’t unwell. He’s worrying and I don’t want him to which makes me want to just stop seeing him. I want to shut it all down and I want to shut everyone out. I can do this to me but I can’t do this to everybody else again. Anyway I did what he asked and I thought about the referral but in the end, I’m just not prepared to step back into that world again. I called and left a message this afternoon to say that I can’t go through with it. I’m too tired to fight. Too fat to stop. Too messed up to even care. I also got a letter through this morning with an appointment with my new care-coordinator in a few weeks. Another thing I don’t want. I feel like such a twat though because I know people are waiting and trying and trying to get this kind of support and I’m being some ungrateful little brat about it. I just can’t anymore.

You know what I hate is that I am drowning and everybody seems to be able to fucking see it. I was doing so well at hiding it but it’s like they see beyond it now and I really really don’t want them to see. I am so ashamed of who I am becoming and I’m supposed to be better than that now. I have a good life. The last year of my undergrad, wonderful friends, good family, safe place to live, people who value me and yet my brain keeps trying to trip me up.

Nothing makes sense and I can’t do this feeling nonsense anymore. I can’t do any of it.

 

 

Don’t Go Down Like That

19 Sep

In the beginning it’s fine. You are 12 years old, 15 or maybe a little more, you could have been less like I was. Either way, whatever age, it’s fine because it’s early days, the damage only just starting to accumulate but what does it matter? You are young enough to believe that the body has no boundaries, that you can force it and twist it into any shape because that is what you desire. You will not heed it’s warning, or listen to it’s distress, you will feel pain but you will cherish that pain because perhaps you tell yourself that it means that it’s working. There is no understanding that the body will only withstand the cruelty in which you will show it before it fights back, fights you and when that isn’t enough, when it falls in submission, the body breaks. You will not be victorious or even aware that you have achieved whittling your body down to nothing because your body is dying and that refuses to be ignored. It might take a year, it might take 5, hell I’ve been at this for 17 years but eventually you look up, you notice the destruction, it finally hits you how much have lost and sacrificed and only then, despite you thinking thin was worth it, you will realise that that is nothing but bullshit.

Do you think that you’re different? That you can dance this dance and walk away unscathed? I did. I thought I had it worked out, that I had it and it didn’t have me. The heart-breaking truth is though that that is a lie that you tell yourself every day because you already know it has you. Why else would you drag yourself out of your bed every day, pushing and stretching and jumping before you’ve even managed to wipe the sleep from your overtired eyes? Why else would you stand in front of the mirror, crying and prodding and praying for the strength to not break the reflection staring back at you? Why would you lie to the people who loved you, fail in your classes, pass out in the hallways, feel your insides shrivelling up, crawl under blankets and hot water bottles because you can never get warm? You do it because it feels like you don’t have a choice, because you don’t know how to stop, you don’t know how to still the fear the is erupting from every cell in your body, every second of the day other than following the voices which demand that you eat less, work out more and do all that you can to protect your secret.

Still don’t think it applies to you? Still think that you will reach your goal weight and enough will be enough and you can go back to living the life you were living before. You’ll be able to go out again and drink wine, or order pizza for a movie night in. You’ll eat Christmas dinner with your family and have an ice cream just because you feel like it. Do you think the guilt will vanish over night? That you won’t be continuously worried that even one extra raisin might make you regain all the weight you fought so hard to lose? Me too. You won’t. Once Anorexia gets in, when it fills every corner of your mind, it’s not that easy to turn back. You don’t just get to stop. You don’t flirt with death in this way and wake up whole again, unmarked. The goal weight doesn’t exist. The goal weight is not the ending for Anorexia because it moves and then keeps moving till before you know it, the only weight that is acceptable is 0, not size 0, just 0.

Anorexia is not some little diet. It is not a method of losing weight that is sustainable or even liveable. It is a disorder that will kill you given half the chance. It’s not about becoming a better version of yourself; it’s about hating yourself so much that you are willing to burn everything to the ground. It is a creator of pain so deep and so raw, that hell you will begin to imagine will feel like an overcast day in the North of England rather than the fiery landscape it is said to be. Anorexia won’t stop coming at you so you need to be the one to figure out how you will stop it before you can’t anymore, before it’s taken your entire life.

I’m in my late twenties, recovering and relapsing more times than I care to think about anymore. There isn’t a day that goes by in which I don’t wish that I had walked away sooner or that I had gotten help before I reached the 11 year mark. I didn’t though. I always figured I’d wake up one day, snap my fingers and somehow every trace of it would disappear. I thought I was smarter and stronger and I was arrogant enough to believe that I was in control of it all. I told myself I had an Eating Disorder because I wasn’t ready to let go but the moment was, then I could let it go. That moment came and I tried and then I failed. Repeatedly. The 11 year, became the 12th, the 13th and so on until now when I’m at the 17th going into the 18th. I have been stabbed and poked and tubed and hospitalised and measured and weighed more times than any person should in their lives and still, do you want to know what Anorexia whispers to me in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep? “It’s ok, just don’t eat tomorrow, I’m right here, I have you, I know you’re hurting but I’m not going anywhere. You can always count on me” And that voice is right, I can count on it. I can count on it to kill me. There is nothing beautiful or hopeful or aspirational about it.

I hate this illness. I hate this pain that it causes. I hate that it holds me tighter every time I fall. Mostly though I hate that it still claims more people all of the time and knowing that I have no power to stop it. The only person who holds that power is the person who is slipping into its grip. I want to believe that there is always hope when it comes to any Eating Disorder but it’s not always easy and the longer you leave it and live with it; the harder it becomes to ever fully be free again. There is never the right time to get help; there will always be a reason why you shouldn’t, another pound to lose or another goal. Just think about this, it might be fine now, it might not destroy everything – and I mean everything from your body to your mind to your relationships to your future- right this second, but imagine being 30 or 40 or older, trying to have a family but possibly being infertile, or trying to fall in love but too tired to go out, or still crying over a slice of bread or a gram of butter. Imagine your bones so fragile that a slip to the floor can lead to a break, or a heart that is just waiting to fail or a brain that can no longer think the way that it used to. Imagine losing your adolescence, your adulthood and if you’re lucky enough to reach old age, probably that too to saying no, to tears and lies and hiding and finding yourself lost in your reflection day after day, still being too much even though there is nothing left at all.

Don’t go down like that. Do not wait any longer; do not give any more of yourself. Move on. Get help.

I hope your day is kind to you.

Wait…I didn’t mean to

14 Sep

I knew when I entered treatment the last time, when I had  withered my body away to the point where it was beginning to fail again, that if I did not recover then there was a good chance that eventually I would not make it. I also knew or had this feeling that this time I would have to maintain it because if I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t get so lucky again. I wouldn’t come out of it alive. So I gave everything I had to recovery. I held on to the attitude of “go hard or go home” for most of it. I reached for a weight I hadn’t been in years, talked about things that I refused to every verbalise before, broke my rules and tried to shy away from what felt safe. When I left, I had something that I hadn’t had for a really long time which was a healthy body. I wasn’t waiting for it to fail me all the time. I learnt to trust that my heart would continue to beat, my lungs would expand and my brain would relay all the messages that it needed to. There was a small voice in the back of my mind which said to me that if I went back to putting it through what I had been putting it through, that would be it. I couldn’t see how it would forgive me again.

Now I am relapsing and I am hoping that those fears will not come true. Every time I go through this bit, the losing and the restricting, it gets harder for my body to be as resilient. Things start to shut down at an earlier stage each time. The pain kicks in as my body struggles at an increasingly higher BMI every time I relapse. I can’t help but wonder if my body is trying to warn me sooner, force me to look at what I’m doing before it does destroy me. I’ve surpassed the point in which I told myself I  would definitely stop. I thought I had this under control, just keep going and not fighting it until I felt more comfortable because no matter how many times I’ve been in this position, no matter how many time logically I know that I’m wrong, I always think I can stop. Truth time: I can’t stop. I’m not sure I know how to anymore. I hate this disorder. I do not want it to kill me which is where this will all lead to because that’s where all eating disorders eventually lead to. You’d think that would be enough to stop this nonsense but it’s not because I don’t know how to undo what I’ve done. It’s become tangled again. My Mum continues to look at me and throw questions my way but still I lie. I deny it. You know what I want? To be able to see it myself. To be able to look in the mirror and be able to see that I have gone far enough, that it’s ok, that I’m not a hideous monster. I’ve never been able to though and all I see is that monster, someone with far too much excess.Why does none of it make sense?

I’m not sure what I do now. Everything has become terrifying. My list of what is safe is pathetically short. Yet I compare to before when that list was shorter and the disordered bit of my brain tells me not to worry yet, things are not that bad, not like then so therefore I don’t actually have to do anything just yet. This is child’s play compared to what’s come before. I suppose it is and I’m not overly panicked about this stage, it’s the stages to come, the stages where my body does begin to fail and my bloods get of whack and my spinal osteopenia because osteoporosis…I am not as young as I used to be and as the years go on, the body’s ability to bounce back lessens. Forgetting the body, I have a life to live to now. A degree to finish then post grad then career, then becoming a wife and a mother. I want a million things but they are fading and they will disappear if I carry on. Already I find no joy in life, my smiles are rarely real and I am currently the world’s greatest hypocrite. This wasn’t supposed to happen again and instead of getting angry about it I feel despairing and weak. The weak thing I have a problem with. It’s a state that I have always despised. I have no patience for it. Yet that’s what it’s coming down to and still I don’t know what to do.

What do I do?

I hope your day has been kind to you.

Assessment Outcome

9 Sep

Today I went for an assessment with a mental health team. It’s not something that I particularly wanted but my GP thought it was a wiser option instead of continuing to ignore all that is going on. I’m not sure what I was expecting because in truth I don’t think I had any expectations. I had this belief that they would turn around and say that things were fine, manageable and that they didn’t feel like it would be appropriate for me to be under the care. Maybe that was in fact what I was hoping for. It didn’t work out that way and now I am trying to figure out how I feel about it all. The nurse who assessed me has decided that it would be good for me to have their input for a while and although he needs to discuss it with his team, he wants to interrupt this before it leads to a place that is even harder for me to come back from. He was nice, had some similar views and seemed receptive to me not wanting to go on medication or get the eating disorder team involved just yet. I guess the point is that he listened to what I wanted and when I didn’t know what I wanted, guided me towards some options.

As I said I’m not sure how I feel about all this. I didn’t want to go back to being a patient, to having to sit in rooms and pick apart what I think or feel. It’s more comfortable for me to sweep that shit under the carpet and pretend it’s not real. Yet equally I don’t want my mood to get so terrible that those random little thoughts of ‘it might be better if I’m not here’ become actual thoughts of not wanting to be here at all. I can’t go back to that place. I barely made it back the last time.

There is also a tremendous amount of guilt and unworthiness of needing help. I’m not sure I deserve it and then I think about all the people who can’t access it, who most definitely need it more than me and it’s rubbish. I’m so ambivalent about all this and yet there are people banging their heads against walls as they struggle to have someone listen to them. I have this friend who continuously gets poor care, whose been on a waiting list for what is being offered to me now for months. It doesn’t feel very fair. Of course I’m sure there is always more going on then what I know, that they will have their reasons but still…the guilt sits with me. I think also it’s the fact that I don’t see myself as unwell this time. Yea things are messed up and I’m struggling and I can’t work out how I am going to get out of this but I keep telling myself it’s not that bad. I’m not sure if that’s true though or if I’m saying it to protect myself. Not the unwell bit because I’m not but the it’s not that bad bit…

In all honesty I’m not sure I am thinking anything good about the outcome of this assessment. I don’t feel relieved or hopeful or that things are going to be OK. I’m just numb and ridiculously tired. I have to work out how I keep going when just the thought of speaking a sentence out loud is draining.

So help is being arranged and the nurse wants it to happen sooner rather than later. I won’t know what that looks like exactly until next week after their meeting. I hate this you know…I hate that I’m here hating again.

I hope your day has been kind to you.

Giving In

8 Sep

I have been fighting my eating disorder – sometimes not always actively – for the last 4 years now. 4 years and although I am better in some ways, it’s still there. It still takes up too much space and repeatedly I keep coming back to the thought that maybe I need to just stop. Stop fighting, stop believing that there is something that exists beyond it and simply let it just be. I feel as though I have gone as far as I can go and my exhaustion is overwhelming. This disorder has taken so much from me but I don’t have the energy required to stop it from taking anymore so I am not sure where that leaves me. I don’t want my entire life to come crashing down around me again like I know it will the moment I say “I give in” but it also feels kind of inevitable. Maybe that just comes from how long I have lived with Anorexia. We have shared a body and a mind for too long. Every year that passes, breaks me down a little bit more and instead of moving away consistently, I swing backwards and forwards, always believing that lie which promises this time will be different. It’s silly because no matter how much knowledge I have intellectually, somewhere deep inside of me is the conviction that the lie is actually truth and this time it will be different, better and I will stay in control. I set my little BMI limits for how low I will let it go and as I plough through them, I change my mind. Set it lower and tell myself it’s fine because my initial thought was too high anyway. It’s becoming unbearably twisted.

I was supposed to spend this summer getting stronger, pulling away as much as I could from this type of destruction. These last few months though have not exactly turned out according to plan. Everything got so messed up internally and externally. I was trying to swim whilst I remained anchored to something unmovable so all I did in the end was tire myself out. Maybe this is the drowning bit, the too tired to care bit, the who gives a shit bit…I don’t even have the energy to get lost in the thought of how pathetic I am. When I don’t have to put on my song and dance act of everything is fine, I feel numb and hollowed out. It’s like something has withered up inside of me and at first I refused to notice it, by the time I did that thing was no longer salvageable. I go back to Uni in a couple of weeks. I go back to a dissertation that is focused on Eating Disorders and I wonder how I am going to pull it off. I am not afraid of losing more of myself to the disorder in the process, I’m afraid of being this enormous hypocrite as I talk and talk about all things recovery and yet be unable to convince myself that any of it is true. I’m also kind of terrified of walking into my lecture on that first day and people figuring out that I am carrying this secret all over again. There is no way of them actually knowing when I think of it logically but paranoia doesn’t need to be logical, does it? In truth though I can’t wait to go back though because I have missed it. I’ve missed my classes and learning and challenging my brain with arguments and theories that can be debated for days.

It is such a sad time right now and I’m not sure how much longer I can keep myself standing.

I hope your day has been kind to you.

The Flip

4 Sep

Do you ever think there is a switch in your head that seems to flip for no apparent reason. One day you think you’re doing fine and then at some point, maybe in that same day things change. Suddenly out of nowhere you’re no longer sure how you are expected to do something that only moments ago seemed natural. There are mornings I get out of bed and begin my routine of getting ready for the day. I make coffee, watch the news, have a shower, search for an outfit and then freeze, lost, not sure how to put my clothes on or what’s supposed to come next. It can happen mid-sentence, one minute I am in a meeting discussing something work-related and I blank, there is nothing, I don’t know what I am doing in that room, or what I am supposed to say. Or I can be making dinner, the same as I have every other night of the week, probably even the same meal and then I can’t do it. I can’t continue. I panic as I try to work out the steps that gets the food from uncooked to cooked to on the table to actually eating it. Something breaks down in that chain of events and I have no idea how I move forward. Anorexia feels like that switch is being flipped constantly. I spend months trying to rebuild myself after a fall/relapse, working through the anxiety and the fear as I try another unsafe food or increase the size of my portions. I go through the weight restoration and sit through lessons in nutrition and spend hours talking in therapy. Then all of sudden when I’m not really looking, the switch goes. The unsafe foods are back to being untouchables, the lessons forgotten, the therapy rendered useless. Occasionally it’s a false alarm, the knowledge drilled into me that much that it sits quietly waiting for me to remember it exists. It’s not always a false alarm though. There a times when it’s actually the beginning of something catastrophic again.

I remember the first time it flipped. I was 10. One day I was fine and then I wasn’t. At the time I couldn’t imagine how a person would ever become afraid of food or even that they could be. Food was just there, nothing to be overly considered. Yes I had a hatred for my body but I had no understanding on how that could be acted upon to change it. I sat in a dining room, in a guest house, on a school trip. They brought out dinner – I remember distinctly that it was lentil shepard’s pie – and something broke inside of me. I looked at it. I imagined eating it and I couldn’t. The tears they came out of nowhere. I had no words for them or comprehension. The only thing I was certain of was that if I ate that food then something terrible was going to happen. For three days, every time my teachers presented me with food I would cry. It was like I had forgotten how to eat. I was terrified of the very act. I didn’t know what it meant – I think back then kids were less exposed to the pressures that kids have today – but I knew it was something big. When I returned home I weighed myself, not knowing what I was expecting but expecting something. The numbers went down. Kept going down. When it was done, I felt this sensation bubble up inside of me which was a mixture of relief, euphoria and hope. I started to make the connections. The act of not eating, the result of not eating and the emotions that followed because of those results. All these things slipped and snapped into place. I had felt something good. I had escaped the pain I had been feeling daily, the constant chaos of my thoughts and the guilt of things I couldn’t speak of. Every now and again, it crosses my mind of what would have happened, if I had just gone home and not stood on those scales.

After the diagnosis though, after treatment part 1 and 2, I had learnt so much that I thought all those flips would become a thing of the past. Surely I had put myself through too much to fall prey to it again. I was wrong. It happened several times after part 2. Only briefly until at last not briefly at all. Treatment part 3…more lessons, more therapy, more words than I thought I owned and a tentative belief that I was done. No more flips. You’ll notice I am wrong a lot when it comes to Anorexia. I had the first one a few weeks after I was discharged, it was slight, barely noticeable and as quick as it came, it was gone. Just a false alarm.

Now this…

This being that I do not know how I ever did the things I did post treatment. This being the flip again. It’s stuck though, because it only works one way and I do not have what it takes to drag myself through the lessons I have learned and make myself believe them again. I’m not sure where it leaves me. Not sure I actually want to know. I’m trying to figure out how I get through the day without losing or forgetting something else. I can live with this for now, I can’t live if I forget how to get out of bed.

I hope your day has been kind to you.

 

 

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